WINTER MAINTENANCE: N.J. Turnpike asked to review snow-clearing strategy after 40-car pileup

State transportation commissioner wants to make sure everything was done to avoid such an accident

February 11, 2015

Once again the East Coast was forced to deal with a winter emergency and everything that comes with it. For New Jersey, that “it” was a 40-car pileup on the New Jersey Turnpike that killed one in the early morning hours of Feb. 10.

The accident has New Jersey Transportation Commissioner Jamie Fox calling on turnpike officials to review the way they handle winter maintenance operations.

According to a state police report, two tractor-trailers reduced their speed to avoid multiple crashes at the 71.4-mile marker, but the icy conditions of the road led to the drivers losing control of their trucks, creating the chain-reaction crash.

About 70 people were taken to local hospitals and treated for injuries.

“The state police investigation is still underway, however, I believe it is prudent for the Turnpike Authority to conduct a thorough review of [the] accident as well, including weather conditions and the turnpike’s winter operations plan and execution, vehicle speed and other contributing factors,” said Fox. “This will help reduce the possibility of another such accident in the future.

“Last night’s accident is a sad reminder of the importance we all play in ensuring our roads are safe—whether it is the work our maintenance crews and contractors do, or the need for care and truck drivers to exercise caution during inclement weather.”